The edtech start-up Tutello combines AI with human oversight to offer personalised tutoring

The 2024 THE Digital Universities UK start-up competition winner, Tutello uses AI to help institutions offer personalised academic support on a large scale

Tutello's avatar
13 Jun 2024
bookmark plus
  • Top of page
  • Main text
  • More on this topic
Tutello DU UK 2024
Sponsored by
Tutello logo


Explore how Tutello combines AI with human guidance to provide tailored tutoring experiences

Tutoring can have a transformative impact on student outcomes. A platform that combines the power of AI with the educational value and expertise of humans can be effective in providing scalable personalised learning solutions. Tutello is a digital tutoring platform that brings together human tutors and AI-driven support to provide personalised and economic tutoring to all students.

“Tutors can have a significant impact on students,” says David Lefevre, co-founder and academic lead of Tutello and professor of practice at Imperial College Business School in London. Lefevre adds that a common challenge associated with personalised tutoring is that it can be time and resource-intensive, making it economically unfeasible for many. Lefevre has worked in the edtech sector for 20 years and recently shifted his focus to how AI can enhance learning. “Our vision is to have human tutors and AI work alongside each other,” says Lefevre. “This can transform how much students can learn and how long it can take. And these are not just incremental changes – they are profound.”

Tutello DU UK 2024

The mission behind Tutello is not to replace human tutoring but to ensure that it is more impactful and wide-reaching. Tutello allows students access to course materials on demand while learning about users’ preferences and needs over time. It can offer individualised support for students’ questions, with the option to access a human tutor if needed.

“It’s like having a personalised tutor by your side that knows every subject,” says Lefevre. “Over time, AI can be more proactive, getting to know you in the same way a tutor does, and replicating some of the roles such as identifying gaps in your knowledge or reminding you to study at certain times of the day.”

Tutello democratises access to learning support using AI. The AI function on the platform can provide first-line support to answer students’ questions. Tutors can import specific content to the platform to contextualise course materials. They can view students’ interactions with AI on the platform, recognise patterns in students’ questions and set their availability for individual interactions with students. The comprehensive analytics available on Tutello enable tutors to gain insights into students’ progress and identify areas that require improvement.

Tutello’s investors come exclusively from an educational background, reflecting the company’s emphasis on shaping the future of education and enhancing learning outcomes. Its chief operating officer, Adrian Mellor, has previously worked at organisations such as Pearson and Oxford University Press. “We’re all working out what AI should be doing and what the tutor should be doing. This is an invitation to go on a journey,” he says.

Mellor adds that institutions can use Tutello to reassure academics of the positive role of AI in education. “Universities can use Tutello’s features to manage the time they make their tutors available for office hours, for example,” he says. 

Tutello won the start-up competition at THE Digital Universities UK event in April 2024. After being nominated as a finalist alongside four edtech start-ups, the team was required to do a three-minute pitch in front of the judges. “We learned so much and it was a great catalyst for discussion,” says Mellor. “You may only get three minutes on stage but that might lead to 300 minutes of conversations on the floor, and a feeling of being part of a bigger story.”

Find out more about Tutello.

You may also like

Training students to learn successfully online
Advice on giving students the skills they need to learn online successfully
sticky sign up

Register for free

and unlock a host of features on the THE site